Our cars are complex machines, designed with every intricate part serving an important function in the car’s overall performance. Since many parts depend on another parts functioning in order to work properly, car maintenance requires a systemic approach—that is, one that is holistic in looking at the health of the entire vehicle whenever it’s in the shop. No matter what type of vehicle you drive, ongoing maintenance is key.

One part that commonly encounters problems, regardless of the kind of car, is the throttle position sensor (TPS). The TPS is a critical component of the fuel system, and is critical in managing the proper fuel-to-air ratio for combustion. When the TPS begins failing, it can cause significant performance issues in your car. In this article, we’ll go over the main function of the TPS, the common symptoms associated with its failure, and what you can do to prevent the throttle position sensor from malfunctioning.

What is the Throttle Position Sensor?

The throttle position sensor, or the TPS, sends a signal to the fuel injection components, letting it know how much power the engine is using, and therefore how much fuel the engine requires for proper performance. Along with other information from other systems, such as temperature sensors, mass airflow sensors, and engine RPMs, the throttle position sensor works to ensure your car’s efficiency. As you might imagine, when this part isn’t working properly it can have a significant effect on fuel efficiency.

Common Symptoms Associated with TPS Failure

Your car’s TPS can encounter several different issues, causing the car to exhibit specific symptoms that you should pay attention to. In the worst cases, the car can become dangerous to drive when it is automatically put into limp mode, in the best cases, the sensor begins to malfunction over a period of time, giving the driver opportunities to have the problem assessed and repaired. These are the most common signs of failure that you should look out for in your own car:

Fuel Economy

While there are many different parts that contribute to efficient fuel usage, the throttle position sensor can certainly affect fuel efficiency when it’s not working well. Fuel isn’t cheap these days, and if your car starts burning through gas too quickly, it’s time to bring it in for an inspection.

Rough Idling, Misfiring, and Stalling

Rough idling, misfiring, and stalling can all be due to other significant problems with your car’s engine, so it’s important that you get this checked out immediately. If you notice that while your car is parked or stopped that it’s shuddering or vibrating, the engine might not be getting the right amount of fuel due to a faulty TPS.

Inefficient Use of Power

With a failing TPS, your car might not be able to adequately shift gears or disperse power properly, and therefore you’ll likely run into problems upon acceleration. Losing power in your car is concerning, and should be looked at right away.

Check-Engine Light

Your check-engine light is there to warn you when things aren’t working well or when parts need servicing. The check-engine light can come on for many reasons, but your trusted automotive specialist will be able to properly read the codes your car’s computer is emitting, and accurately diagnose the problem.

The Importance of Hiring a Specialist for Accurate Diagnoses

Car on Road When the throttle position sensor begins to malfunction, your automotive technicians should immediately replace it. First, they must properly diagnose the problem, replace it with the correct part for your particular vehicle, and then program software accordingly. Here at Mark Douglas Motorworks, we are familiar with common client issues, like a failing TPS. In the areas of Orange County, including: Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Laguna Hills and Laguna Nigel, CA, we are known for our expertise, customer service, and affordable pricing. Specializing in European imports, we are familiar with such brands as: BMW, Audi, Ferrari, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mercedes, Porsche, Bentley, Aston Martin, and Rolls Royce—in other words, we are the European import experts in the Orange County area! If you’ve experienced any of the above-mentioned symptoms in your European car, please call our shop to schedule an inspection or diagnostic appointment to check out your throttle position sensor.

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